Detroit Techno


Techo is a form of dance music that came about in Detroit in the early 1980s that mainly has electronic instruments. A variety of instruments included samplers, computers, multi-track mixers, and drum machines. Detroit techno is distinguished by “percussive rhythms typically in common time (4/4) with tempos ranging from 120 to 150 preats per second” described by Denise Dalphond, an ethnomusicologist specializing in Black electronic music.  Dalpond then went on to say that techno has an “emphasis on polyrhythm, infusing a funkiness that is distinctive with Detroit electronic music.”


A synthesizer or synthesiser is an electronic musical instrument that generates audio signals that may be converted to sound.
Uses sound recordings of real instrument sounds, and excerpts from recorded songs or other sounds.
Drum Machines & Pad
A drum machine is an electronic musical instrument that creates percussion.
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The Grandfathers Of Techno

Juan Atkins

Juan Atkins is an American musician widely recognized for creating techno music, along with the other members of his group, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson. Born on September 12, 1962, in Detroit, Michigan, Atkins met Derrick Mays, and Kevin Saunderson when they were all around 13 years old. Atkins would later go on to create 2 other recording names: Model 500 and Infiniti. As an artist, Atkins created Metroplex, the recorded label founded in 1985. 

Derrick May

Derrick Mays is an American electronic musician from Belleview, Michigan.  Born April 16, 1963, at age 13, Mays meet Kevin Saunderson and Juan Atkins, who would all be coined as the creators of techno music. Mays also went under the pseudonym, ‘Rhythim is Rhythim’. Mays Djing has brought his record label, Transmat, world wide recognition for his contribution in the techno realm.

Kevin Saunderson

Kevin Saunderson is an American electronic music producer born on September 5, 1964 in Belleview Michigan. Having met, Jean Atkins, and Derrick Mays at 13, the three honed their techlo skills together. Saunderson created his record label, KMS, with a mission to ” …help and develop new talent and more importantly to continue to create and release great music…”, Saunderson had stated. 

Similar Genres


A style of electronic music that  originated in Chicago, Illinois, specifically at the black gay club scene in the 1980s.  


Krautrock is electronic music played in European groups starting in the 1980s. This music was largely from Germany, and often featured the use of heavy drums throughout songs. 

Electronic Dance Music (EDM)

Electric dance music is an umbrella term for percussive electronic music mostly played at night clubs, raves, and festivals. 


Burnim, Mellonee V., and Portia K. Maultsby. African American Music: an Introduction. Routledge, 2015.

“Derrick May (Musician).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Apr. 2019,

“Juan Atkins.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Mar. 2019,

“Kevin Saunderson.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Mar. 2019,


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